Colette McGarva recognises the need for an ever more collaborative approach to delivering CWB but also points out the need for learning why previous policies have not delivered reductions in inequality.

Colette McGarva is a community development consultant and health & wellbeing specialist. She has 25 years’ experience of community development and community led regeneration and holds a Masters in Community Regeneration and Community Planning.

She currently co-ordinates Community Development Alliance Scotland. A strong coalition of 128 national organisations adhering to the core values and principles of community development as well as delivering a broad range of wellbeing programmes throughout Scotland. She is a keen musician and plays a number of musical instruments!! 

Reflections on conference Content

Genuinely an informative and engaging conference with well-balanced content and thought-provoking speakers. I was particularly heartened to hear a great deal of reference for the need to value community development: Practice, principles, and core values.

Inspired by Martin Avila’s comment “not just short-term community engagement but the need for community development” and the raw, real and true poetry of Kevin Gilday.

Great to have been involved in the discussions on “community wealth building” and the need for a coordinated approach: social, environmental, physical, and economic regeneration. Community development offers this broad wealth of expertise and, at CDAS, we are always keen to expand our collaborative working.

Challenges and opportunities lie ahead

Build upon good practice and build upon “what works” in order to harness and galvanize impact of good practice and provide best value to the public. There is still a great deal of opportunity to expand and accelerate meaningful partnership working.

” Heard it all before” value skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications. I believe we are capable of greatness, but we need to have the right people driving vision, strategy and crucially actions. As such, we must identity and build leaders and leadership skills.

Further questions you think SURF Community Wealth Building network should explore over next year?

Collaborative working – who are partners? Who is best placed to drive forward the improvement agenda? Social scientists, economists, ecologists – 4 strands of regeneration.

Community led/ community development approaches need support from skilled CD practitioners and time planned financial resourcing. As far as “Empowerment” this is a long process involving complex, skilled approaches, the twin pillars of community capacity building and community engagement should always be adopted. “the CD Part? “ Skilled, qualified practitioners!

As far as “it’s all been done before” and “consultation fatigue” we must learn from all the community action plans that were produced around 10 years ago and pose the question “ who is responsible for the implementation of place plans? Who monitors this implementation and where is the scrutiny?


Main challenge would be equality. It is clear that we are not bridging the gap between poverty and wealth.

The importance of communities is recognised across a broad range of Scottish Government policies. Yet, the very communities who should be shaping public services, identifying the changes that are needed and taking a real and active role in decision making are often the very ones who are left behind by increasing inequalities.

We want to build a Fairer Scotland and to do this we need to invest in the kind of skilled support which helps the most disadvantaged communities to have an effective role in shaping their future.

We need to consider how we can co-ordinate key policy aspirations and implementation such as tackling inequalities, creating a fairer and more socially just Scotland, improving local democracy, building strong resilient and active communities.


Lot’s of job vacancies in various sectors where recruitment has been a challenge. Long term, this challenge will impact on maintaining standards in all sectors.

If you would like to join SURF’s Community Wealth Building Network please email emma@surf-old.local